Québec's public health director, Dr. Luc Boileau says the COVID-19 situation in the province is steadily improving and he announced they’re adjusting the vaccination game plan slightly.
Public Health now recommends a booster shot every six months for those who have not been infected and for people who are immunocompromised (even if they have been infected).
“During the last few months, we were exposed to a lot of viruses that were causing a lot of problems, mainly the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) for the kids, but also influenza and COVID,” said Dr. Boileau.“The situation has improved greatly, in fact there are far fewer cases of RSV in our hospitals and that’s great for pediatric hospitals.”
New vaccination strategy in place
“Today, our main focus is on vaccination,” said Boileau. “After the work done by Dr. Caroline Quach-Thanh and her colleagues, they recommended that we move on with vaccination but there’s no need to get vaccinated if we have had COVID and have been vaccinated at least 2 doses. It’s pretty clear that there’s good protection with that.”
He still recommends the booster for people living in long-term care facilities, residences in private seniors' homes, people with chronic diseases, pregnant women, and health workers.
What is hybrid immunity?
The new vaccination strategy is basically the result of hybrid immunity, a new concept explained by Dr. Quach-Thanh, the president of the Québec Immunization Committee, during the conference.
“Hybrid immunity is basically having been vaccinated with at least two doses and having caught COVID,” she explained. “What it does is give you a protection that much more solid over time.”
The change in strategy is coming as Public Health data shows that a majority of Québecers have caught COVID by now.
Dr. Boileau revealing that three-quarters of Québecers under the age of 60 and half of Québecers over 60 have been infected with COVID at this point.
Despite a change in vaccination strategy, Dr. Boileau is reminding Québecers that nothing has changed in how we protect one another.
“If you have an infection just consider that you are contagious,” he said. “If you are sick enough to stay home, than stay home. If you wish to get out for essential matters be careful and wear a mask.”